Speaker Boehner responded to that “we’re winning” crack by snarling, “This isn’t some damn game,” which is politically the right thing to say, and also sounds a bit more pugnacious than a lot of us were worried he would be. He’s in the hot seat here – if he throws in the towel, or even settles for some minor concession, he’s done as Speaker. But he looks more determined than ever to me. Maybe he’s just getting better at looking determined, but I can’t help but hear a bit of real fire in his voice.
Shutdown Theater grinds on, and there’s always the chance the media will fail to convince Americans it’s all the GOP’s fault. The World War II memorial showdown did real, lasting damage to Obama. One of his biggest political blind spots is his inability to see when he’s suffered lasting damage – he thinks everything can be spun away, or the short American attention span will fizzle if he just holds out long enough. But it seems like people will remember this, and while the reactions I’ve seen to other Shutdown Theater performances have to be considered anecdotal, it does seem like a lot of folks understand that Obama is doing this stuff deliberately.
This is one of those times the Empty Chair defense will be a hard sell, especially since Obama’s been posturing as an almighty near-sovereign for so long. People instinctively understand that the super-executive who can unilaterally rewrite ObamaCare has some say in whether or not parks are closed. And while the media obviously isn’t rushing to interview the disgruntled Park Service employees who have a problem with the orders they’re getting, that sort of thing has a way of bubbling through the grapevine.
It’s also tough to stuff Crypt Keeper Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) back into the coffin once Americans have gotten a good look at him. People are going to have nightmares about Reid telling kids with cancer to drop dead for years.
I’ve always thought it somewhat unlikely the shutdown would endure past the weekend, no matter how much I might wish it would. (Politicians can’t say things like this, of course, but speaking as a pundit, I really think Americans should consider embracing the “slimdown,” as Fox News calls it, with all their hearts. This could be the beginning of a return to constitutional government and free-market prosperity.) No matter what they might say in press releases, the Democrats are the ones acting as if they expect their position to grow more uncertain as time goes by. Besides the looming danger of the public realizing just how “non-essential” a lot of that Big Government spending really is, I think Democrats see a perfect storm forming with the ObamaCare failure. Delaying it for a year or longer will increasingly sound like not just a good deal for settling the debt crisis, but an objectively good idea on its own.